Negotiating Boudries, Configuration Management in Software Development Teams

Author(s): Hilda Tellioglu and Ina Wagner
Venue: Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
Date: December, 1997



This paper uses case-study material from three small software development teams to analyze the regionalism of "design spaces". The concern is the development of configuration management and tools that support cooperation across multiple organizational and social boundaries while simultaneously being "respectful of regionalisations".

In 1994, the authors started working on a series of parallel case studies. Initially it was difficult to document practices because access to software development teams was extremely restricted and management was often reluctant to make visible what they suspected to be "messy" practices.

The Document Case was a temporarily extended and highly complex software project that had previously been terminated and was being worked on by a team of 8 developers. The product was a document management system with a graphical user interface. The Office Case consisted of a software project with integrated solutions to all conceivable problems of office work. The product consisted of a database and graphical user interface consisting of three subprograms -- one for calculations, one for word processing, and one for graphical design tasks. Depending on available resources between 20 and 30 developers were involved. Finally, The TV Case consisted of a two person team specialized in developing graphical presentation software for television.

The authors found through their research that a configuration management tool was not good enough to instill "good practices" in the developers. While there was a reduction in the complexity of the articulation work necessary for day-to-day clarifications, new articulations were created which the authors believe should be addressed: improving overview, supporting translation and merging and supporting participatory management.